A delegation from Turkish state pipeline company Botas is scheduled to arrive in Baghdad on April 3rd to discuss plans for a new natural gas line to handle Iraqi exports to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, according to newspaper reports on April 2nd.
Iraqi Oil Ministry Undersecretary Taha Hmoud had said on April 1st that talks between Baghdad and Ankara to sign a contract covering the gas line had reached an advanced stage, after the two neighbors had in 1997 signed a preliminary agreement to build a gas pipeline with an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters.
The Turkish delegation is also expected to discuss restoring to full capacity an existing oil pipeline that carries Iraqi exports under the U.N. oil-for-food program to Ceyhan.
Senior Iraqi officials had said in March that plans were being made to return the line to its total capacity of about 1.6 million b/d by the end of the second quarter of this year.
The twin 1,049 km pipeline, which runs from Iraq’s Kirkuk oil fields to the Turkish port, has a working capacity of about 1.1 million b/d.
In another sign of improving relations with its neighbors, Iraq said on March 31st that a free trade agreement signed with Syria earlier this year would take effect from April 1st.
The agreement between Baghdad and Amman had been signed on January 31st and is expected to increase the trade volume between the two neighbors to $1 billion in 2001 from $500 million last year.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)